The Eyes Of Texas Are Upon Me

Its vacation time. I always like to take vacations in the fall so I can get away from the summer heat. I find as I get older heat really sucks. So we went to Texas. You know Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Brenham, LaGrange, Wimberly, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Gruene, Dallas, Fort Worth. Lovely fall destinations. Cool weather. Texas.

We flew into Houston. Since the Astrodome is gone there was really nothing there. When you tell people you meet you flew into Houston, they laugh at you and ask you why. Texans don’t think to fondly of Houston. They have NASA and from a historical standpoint that would have been interesting. Joel Osteen is in Houston……. Which reminds me. Do you want to hear a Christian joke????? Joel Osteen. I’ll pass on him.

I had to go to Blue Bell Creamery which is in Brenham Texas. I love Blue Bell. Before Blue Bell made it to South Carolina a guy I knew would fly to Louisiana a couple times of year to see family and I’d give him a couple of coolers with dry ice and he would load up the half gallons of ice cream heaven. So many flavors and there was so little time.

I’m was really looking forward to Austin. Been wanting to go there for years. It’s all about the music. The home of Stevie Ray and Willie, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lucinda Williams, Spoon and Robert Earl Keen who we saw at John T Floore’s Country Store. The Red River Music District, Saxon Pub and of course Moody Theater, the home of Austin City Limits. Ok, this may be the closest I get to heaven. Little Longhorn Saloon has Chicken Shit Bingo. I’m there. Austin truly is different than of all things Texas. The “Keep Austin Weird” vibe is truly in effect because it is that. Granted we didn’t go everywhere but once you visit Dirty Sixth Street you have reached the ultimate in weirdness. Asheville doesn’t have anything on this place.

It’s often been said that there are three food groups in Texas—barbecue, Tex-Mex, and chicken-fried steak. We tried them all and they were good. World famous Salt Lick did not disappoint, In San Antonio’s Market we had Tex-Mex and chicken fried steak at Horseshoe Hill in Fort Worth. So much for those three food groups. There is actually a fourth food group and any true Texan will tell you that Whataburger is it. I had never had one so I went in with my eyes wide open. I had the standard burger with the toppings. Honestly, it was very good as Hamburger joints go as good if not better than anything here. And yet, when Texans spot the restaurant’s familiar orange- and white-striped logo and architecture, hearts beat faster, mouths begin to water which I don’t understand. Kind of like the people of Easley SC gets when Popeye’s opens up. Seriously it’s fried chicken. Another one of life’s mysteries.

Billy Bob’s, The Broken Spoke, John T. Floores, Gruene Hall, Luckenbach all Texas Honky Tonks and all were just as I expected………. the dumpiest, hole in the wall heavenly pieces of Texas and American Americana. Robert Earl Keen, Jimmy Lee Jones, Flat Top Jones and every other Texas singer with three names we saw, it was wonderful.

Finally, Texans love them some Texas. They truly identify themselves as Texans first, Americans second. Flags of the Lone Star State are everywhere. They are more plentiful than the Confederate flag is in South Carolina. There are two beers in Texas. Shiner and Lonestar and you better drink them. There aren’t many other states as consumed with itself as Texas, but there are really not many other states that are diverse culturally and geographically as Texas is either. I enjoyed Texas and it was a place I felt comfortable in. I learned how to two-step, bought me a cowboy hat, did the river walk, saw the weirdness in Austin, went to the heart of the hill country in Fredericksburg, saw some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets and got to share it all with my beautiful wife and two wonderful friends. Life is good.


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